This module introduces the disciplines of animal behaviour and behavioural ecology with particular reference to non-human primates. We look at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across species, combining established findings with the latest research. The module emphasises the importance of direct observation of animal/primate behaviour – introducing the necessary methods – and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. We use multi-media technology to view examples of animal behaviour, in their natural habitats, and engaging practical exercises are employed to reinforce concepts. Topics covered include interactions between primates and their environments – primates as foragers, predators and prey – as well as the nature and evolution of primate societies, cognition and communication, and social and reproductive behaviour within groups.
Total contact hours: 31
Private study hours: 119
Total study hours: 150
BSc Biological Anthropology
BSc Wildlife Conservation
Method of assessment
Multiple Choice Questions via Moodle (20%)
Examination, 2 hour (80%)
Reassessment Instrument: 100% exam
Krebs, Davies & West (2012) Introduction to Behavioural Ecology 4th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell.
Manning & Stamp Dawkins (2012) An Introduction to Animal Behaviour, 6th Edition, Cambridge University Press.
Martin & Bateson (2007) Measuring Behaviour: An Introductory Guide, Cambridge University Press.
Strier (2018) Primate Behavioral Ecology. 5th Edition, Prentice Hall,
Campbell et al. (2010) Primates in Perspective. 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Dolhinow & Fuentes (1999) The Nonhuman Primates. Mayfield, London.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate systematic knowledge of evolutionary theory as it applies to animal behaviour.
8.2 Identify and understand the ways animals (including primates) interact with one another and their environments.
8.3 Evidence a comprehensive understanding of the patterns and principles that account for the variation in ecology and behaviour of animals, especially the non-human primates.
8.4 Provide detailed examples from a wide range of species to illustrate these patterns.
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